Edited version skedded to open July 20

“Mission: Impossible 3″ will preem in China after all – albeit in an edited version. Pic is now skedded to open July 20.

But that is progress. At one point it had looked possible that distrib United International Pictures might seek to drop the release. The Chinese play date, which comes after the summer ‘blackout’ designed to help local films at the B.O., is some seven weeks after its May 5 bow across the rest of the Asian region. Pirate DVD copies of the film have circulated widely in the country.

“It’s sure that the movie has been somewhat cut,” said an unnamed spokesman for China Film Group, quoted in mainland and Hong Kong newspapers. Details of the cuts were not available.

Chinese initially authorities halted the movie’s release after suggestions that it did not depict Shanghai, where much of it was lensed, in a sufficiently positive light. Scenes showing laundry hanging on poles were regularly cited by media. It was also suggested that the Chinese police were shown as reacting slowly to a major crime.

At the time of the initial delay UIP estimated that piracy caused by a mid-July release could cost the film 40% of its potential business.

Last week “Da Vinci Code” was abruptly removed from Chinese theaters. Murky explanations range from the film doing too well, to its being offensive to the country’s Catholic minority.

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